By the family
Sept. 6, 2023: Josephine “Josie” Abplanalp, wife of the late Robert Abplanalp inventor of the modern-day aerosol valve and Nixon confidant, died at her house in Bronxville, N.Y. She was 98. Many would say may God bless her for the life she had, but he truly did.
Josephine “Josie” Anne Sloboda was born in 1925 in New York City and was the only daughter/child of Paul (Pavel) Sloboda and Apollonia Lajcha Sloboda, who emigrated from Czechoslovakia in the early 1920’s. Josephine grew up in Bronxville, NY. She attended Yonkers’s Public School #8 and Roosevelt High School, from which she graduated in 1943. She later went on to study chemical sciences at Westbrook Junior College in Portland, Maine. Upon her graduation, she returned to New York City and took a sales representative job with Eastman Kodak Company. Eventually Josie became a hand model for advertising campaigns.
In 1955, Josie met Robert Abplanalp, an inventor and one of the cofounders of Precision Valve Corporation, at a restaurant in midtown Manhattan. This was only the beginning of the beautiful life they would create together. Josephine and Robert Abplanalp were married on November 10, 1956 in St. Joseph’s Church in Bronxville. A year later, the couple welcomed their first child John and their daughter, Marie a couple of years later.
Josephine Abplanalp was a tenet of love, closeness, and service. Her family was her greatest accomplishment and one that she took pride in. She devoted her life to her family and helping others. Josie was a committed member of the Bronxville League of Service, St. Joseph’s Church and school, and many charitable organizations. In the mid-1960’s, when Robert’s alma mater, Fordham Prep was in severe financial distress and faced with the possibility of shutting its doors, Josie organized a fundraiser which raised half a million dollars. This enabled Fordham Prep to remain open and continue to educate young men today. She later went on to be dubbed “The First Lady of Fordham Prep.” Both Josephine and Robert Abplanalp were named in 1971 to two charitable orders, the Order of Malts and the Order of the Holy Sepulcher.
Josephine lived a life that was truly extraordinary, not only in her commitment to service, but she truly lived life. As a result of the family’s close friendship with Richard Nixon, she attended two inaugural balls and slept in the White House twice. She got to witness first-hand the United State’s hockey team beat the Soviet Union in what is now known as the “Miracle on Ice.” She has met two popes, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
Josephine’s biggest and most favorite role was being a grandmother to her grandchildren, to whom she was fondly known as “Mimi.” She was an remarkable woman who lived an extraordinary life.
Josephine Abplanalp was preceded in death by her parents Paul and Apollonia and her husband Robert Abplanalp. She is survived by her two children, John (and Tonina) Abplanalp of Stamford, Connecticut and Marie (and Greg) Holcombe of Bronxville, NY; her grandchildren, Walker Abplanalp, Francesca “Chessie” Abplanalp, Annie Holcombe, and Katie Holcombe.
Friends and family are invited to call on Tuesday, August 29, from 4pm-7pm at the Fred H McGrath & Son Funeral Home, Bronxville, NY. A mass of Christian Burial was held on Wednesday, August 30th at 10:45am, St. Joseph’s Church, Bronxville, NY.